United States Reaches $900,000 Settlement with Drug City Pharmacy and its Former Owner for Unlawful Distribution of Controlled Substances
Baltimore, Maryland – Drug City Pharmacy, Inc. and its former owner, Mark Lichtman, have agreed to pay $900,000 to the United States to resolve allegations that they violated the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) by dispensing controlled substances pursuant to prescriptions that were not issued for a legitimate medical purpose.
The settlement agreement was announced today by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division.
“Pharmacies and pharmacists are responsible for making sure controlled substances prescriptions were issued for legitimate medical purposes,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. “Doctors and pharmacists are the gatekeepers in preventing abuse and diversion of pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical purposes.”
“The abuse of prescription drugs has rampantly spread throughout our communities,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder. “This abuse has directly resulted in the escalation of heroin addiction and related overdoses. Today’s settlement sends a clear message to all pharmacies that it is essential to dispense controlled substances in compliance with DEA’s record keeping requirements. DEA is dedicated to combat the prescription drug abuse problem in Maryland and throughout the country and to hold pharmacies and its owners like Drug City and Lichtman, accountable.”
Under the CSA, pharmacies have a responsibility to dispense only those prescriptions that have been issued for a legitimate medical purpose by a health care provider acting in the usual course of professional practice. Knowingly filling an illegitimate prescription subjects a pharmacy to civil penalties under the CSA.
According to the settlement agreement, Drug City and Lichtman admitted that from January 1, 2010 to April 4, 2012 they dispensed controlled substances in a manner not fully consistent with their compliance obligations under the CSA and related regulations. Specifically, the settlement agreement states that controlled substances were dispensed to individuals that Drug City or Lichtman should have known were diverting the drugs. This settlement caps off an another investigation that began as part of the DEA’s crackdown on prescription drug abuse in Maryland.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, Washington Division, Baltimore District Office for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Thomas F. Corcoran, who handled the case.